In 1897, when the first Cup
competition took place, all the clubs playing Northern Union were able to take
part. This book tells the story of how and why that changed and the impact on
the competition of clubs like Beverley, West Hull, The Twelve Apostles and Uno’s
Dabs; the giant killing acts; and players, some famous and some long forgotten,
that have contributed to the magic and romance of the competition we now know
as the Rugby League Challenge Cup.
My new book that tells the story of junior/amateur club involvement in the Rugby League Challenge Cup will be available in July 2013.
How many members of the Yorkshire team went on to play for Great Britain?
Five members of the Yorkshire Under 17 team went on to play for Great Britain. They are Garry Schofield 46 caps, Roy Powell 19 caps, Deryk Fox 14 caps David Creasser 4 caps and Gary Divorty 2 caps. Vince Gribben, from the Cumbria team, made one appearance for Great Britain.
By November 1983 Kent Invicta was bankrupt and had to be taken over by Jim Thompson, the Chairman of Maidstone United soccer club. As the season continued problems with sharing the ground with the soccer club and wear and tear on the pitch meant that when Southend United approached Jim Thompson with an offer to take the club to their Roots Hall Stadium it was readily accepted. Kent Invicta disappeared from the rugby league scene at the end of the 1983/84 season
Sadly, Southend Invicta was also only in existence for just one season, 1984/85. Attendances at their Roots Hall ground often struggled to reach three figures and for their final home game, against Huddersfield on 26th April 1985, the attendance was recorded at just 85 spectators.
If you are interested in reading more about Southend Invicta I suggest you look at Peter Flower's Southend Invicta website at www.peterflower.tripod.com Peter has done an excellent job of recording Southend's only season as members of the Rugby Football League.
The attendance for the opening game, on 21st August 1983, against Cardiff City was 1,815, a promising start. However, after that the only other attendances in four figures were 2,107 for the John Player Trophy game, on 6th November 1983, against St Helens and 1,643 for the Challenge Cup game against Castleford, on 11th February 1984.
After the opening fixture against Cardiff, attendances declined with the majority of League games attracting less than 700 spectators.
When the final game of the season was played on 12th May 1984, a re-arranged fixture against Rochdale Hornets, just 412 spectators were in attendance.
The Rochdale game should have been played on 25th March 1984 but was postponed because of a waterlogged pitch. Bob Fox, the Invicta secretary, is pictured on the programme cover below inspecting the pitch before the game was called off.
The team for the game against Barrow is listed below.
The Kent Invicta team included two current Super League club Chief Executives Steve Ferres and Gary Hetherington.
On Wednesday 6th April 1983 Kent Invicta Rugby League Football Club was accepted as a member of the Rugby Football League and following a hectic few months of preparation played its first game in Division Two on Sunday 21st August 1983.
The club was based at Maidstone United's London Road Stadium.
For the opening game the club had recruited a mixture of Southern based players and experienced Northern 'imports'.
There was no rugby league played in Kent and the nearest professional club was Fulham over forty miles away. However, despite the obvious difficulties of establishing a club in an area new to rugby league, many people in the sport were excited about the prospect of rugby league being played in Kent and thought that the club would be a success.
There will be more about what happened to Kent Invicta in Part Two